Book Review, Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: August 2022

I finally had a great reading month again! Only one 2 star read and I am hoping to ride this high through the fall.

Favorites this month:

  • The River of Silver
  • Well Traveled
  • A Tale of Stars and Shadow (full series)
  • Miss Newbury’s List
  • A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting
  • The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy
  • Kiss and Tell
  • Eloise and the Grump Next Door
  • Violet Made of Thorns
  • Royally Rearranged (reread)
  • Red Rising (reread)
  • Begin Again
  • Complete
  • Hidden Waters
  • The Paris Secret

Least favorite:

  • The Even Odder Couple
  • Echoes of TIme
  • In the Weeds
  • Love on the Brain
  • Back to You
  • The Reigning and the Rule (Surviving Trace #2) by Calia Read
  • [ARC] Defend the Dawn (Defy the Night #2) by Brigid Kemmerer
  • All Tricked Out (Wayfair Witches #13) by A.A. Albright
  • The River of Silver (The Daevabad Trilogy #4) by S.A. Chakraborty
  • The Even Odder Couple (Apple Valley Love Stories #4) by Julie Christianson
  • [ARC] Wild is the Witch by Rachel Griffin
  • [ARC] Well Traveled (Well Met #4) by Jen DeLuca
  • Scales of Ash & Smoke (Ash & Smoke #1) by Emily L. Schneider
  • A Tale of Stars and Shadow (A Tale of Stars and Shadow #1) by Lisa Cassidy
  • [ARC] Miss Newbury’s List by Megan Walker
  • Echoes of Time (Surviving Time #3) by Calia Read
  • Luna and the Lie by Mariana Zapata
  • Faking it (Wayfair Witches #14) by A.A. Albright
  • A Prince of Song and Shade (A Tale of Stars and Shadow #2) by Lisa Cassidy
  • Brought to Light by Allie Lewis
  • A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting by Sophie Irwin
  • [ARC] The Do-Over by Lynn Painter
  • [Reread] Red Rising (Red Rising #1) by Pierce Brown
  • Testing Times (Wayfair Witches #15) by A.A. Albright
  • [ARC] The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen
  • Upgrade by Blake Crouch
  • Kiss and Tell (Creekville Kisses #3) by Melanie Jacobson
  • [ARC] Eloise and the Grump Next Door (Oakley Island Romcoms #1) by Emma St. Clair and Jenny Proctor
  • Violet Made of Thorns (Violet Made of Thorns #1) by Gina Chen
  • [ARC] In the Weeds (Lovelight #2) by B.K. Borison
  • [Reread] Royally Rearranged (Sweet Royal Romcom #1) by Emma St. Clair
  • [ARC] Begin Again by Emma Lord
  • [ARC] Ledge (The Glacian Trilogy #1) by Stacey McEwan
  • A King of Masks and Magic (A Tale of Stars and Shadow #3) by Lisa Cassidy
  • A Duet of Sword and Song (A Tale of Stars and Shadow #4) by Lisa Cassidy
  • A Duel with the Vampire Lord (Married to Magic #3) by Elise Kova
  • The Hookup Plan (The Boyfriend Project #3) by Farrah Rochon
  • [ARC] To Capture His Heart (Matchmakers #2) by Nancy Campbell Allen
  • Complete (The Sweet RomComs #3) by Kortney Keisel
  • [ARC] The Liar’s Crown (Dominion #1) by Abigail Owen
  • Unhappening Ever After (Wayfair Witches #16) by A.A. Albright
  • Promised by Leah Garriot
  • Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood
  • A Confirmed Rake (The Donovans #2) by Martha Keyes
  • Back to You (San Diego Marines #1) by Jess Mastorakos
  • Hidden Waters (Tattered & Torn #3) by Catherine Cowles
  • The Paris Secret by Natasha Lester

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Book Review

Book Review: From Little Tokyo, with Love by Sarah Kuhn

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 432 pages
Author: Sarah Kuhn
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 11th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

If Rika’s life seems like the beginning of a familiar fairy tale–being an orphan with two bossy cousins and working away in her aunts’ business–she would be the first to reject that foolish notion. After all, she loves her family (even if her cousins were named after Disney characters), and with her biracial background, amazing judo skills and red-hot temper, she doesn’t quite fit the princess mold.

All that changes the instant she locks eyes with Grace Kimura, America’s reigning rom-com sweetheart, during the Nikkei Week Festival. From there, Rika embarks on a madcap adventure of hope and happiness–searching for clues that Grace is her long-lost mother, exploring Little Tokyo’s hidden treasures with cute actor Hank Chen, and maybe…finally finding a sense of belonging.

But fairy tales are fiction and the real world isn’t so kind. Rika knows she’s setting herself up for disappointment, because happy endings don’t happen to girls like her. Should she walk away before she gets in even deeper, or let herself be swept away?

FANCIFUL.

I enjoyed this one! I don’t necessarily think it was intensely memorable or compares to some of the recent YA contemporaries I’ve read, but it had some charm and good moments.

The addition of Disney princess aspects was cute. Her cousins have princess names and the whole vibe of the book reads with different takes. I noticed Cinderella the most. It added a *magical* (no actual magical realism) touch to Rika’s quest.

One of my favorite aspects was Rika’s anger issues. That’s not something I’ve seen a lot of in young adult novels and I love the way it was approached. Many of the conversations made my teenage self feel seen. Rika may have struggle with it at times, but the support of those around her helped her see the strength of her passions. Other conversations such as stereotypes, being biracial, racism and fitting into the Asian community were also addressed.

For the romance, I was initially smitten. But the intense speed at which this flew had me trying to slam on the brakes. It went too fast, and took a turn I couldn’t get behind. Very sweet overall at least. Henry and Rika communicated well and really did lift each other up and I did love that.

It was an enjoyable read and one I would recommend!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to one closed door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: racism, colorism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, parental abandonment, panic attacks, teen pregnancy (recounted)

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Book Review

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: May 2022

A mixed bag of a month, most of five star reads came from rereads. But now I am ready for all of the summer reads!

Favorite Reads This Month: Some Mistakes Were Made, The Phoenix Priest, TBK/TTQ, QOS, Love & Olives, All the Feels, Love in Bloom, Roaring, The Bluff

  • [Graphic Novel] Heartstopper Vol. 4 by Alice Oseman
  • Obsidian Throne (The Lochlann Feuds #4) by Robin D. Mahle and Elle Madison
  • [ARC] Exactly Where You Need to Be by Amelia Diane Coombs
  • Just Go With It (Just Us #1) by Madison Wright
  • Bonded Fate (Guardians of the Maiden #2) by Beck Michaels
  • The Do-Over by Bethany Turner
  • Some Mistakes Were Made by Kristin Dwyer
  • Book of Night by Holly Black
  • Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
  • Book Lovers by Emily Henry
  • The Phoenix Priest (The Blood and Water Saga #2) by Cassidy Clarke
  • [Reread] The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom #1) by Danielle L. Jensen
  • [ARC] Every Summer After by Carley Fortune
  • [Reread] Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas
  • [ARC] Edward and Amelia by Karen Thornell
  • Love & Olives (Love & Gelato #3) by Jenna Evans Welch
  • Last Chance Summer by Shannon Klare
  • The Queen’s Rising (The Queen’s Rising #1) by Rebecca Ross
  • The Witch Collector (Witch Walker #1) by Charissa Weaks
  • [Bonus Chapters] The Calm Before the Storm (The Bridge Kingdom #3.5) by Danielle L. Jensen
  • All the Feels (Spoiler Alert #2) by Olivia Dade
  • [Novella] The Missed Connection (Airport Novellas #2) by Denise Williams
  • [Graphic] Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron by Julia Quinn
  • [Reread] The Traitor Queen (The Bridge Kingdom #2) by Danielle L. Jensen
  • [ARC] For Butter or Worse by Erin La Rosa
  • Complex (The Sweet Rom”Com”s #2) by Kortney Keisel
  • An Arrow to the Moon by Emily X.R. Pan
  • Love in Bloom (Some Kind of Love #4) by Jenny Proctor
  • Firebrand (Green Rider #6) by Kristen Britain
  • Maybe Now (Maybe #2) by Colleen Hoover
  • Reign & Ruin (Mages of the Wheel #1) by J.D. Evans
  • [Novella] Unrequited (The Donovans #0.5) by Martha Keyes
  • How to Kiss Your Best Friend by Jenny Proctor
  • Roaring by Lindsey Duga
  • [Novella] A Wilderness of Glass (Wraith Kings #2.7) by Grace Draven
  • The Queen of Blood (The Queens of Renthia #1) by Sarah Beth Durst
  • Gleam (The Plated Prisoner #3) by Raven Kennedy
  • A Show for Two by Tashie Bhuiyan
  • [ARC] The Bluff (Graham Brothers #2) by Emma St. Clair
  • [Novella] Love Beginning (Some Kind of Love #0.5) by Jenny Proctor

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Book Review

Book Review: Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: Crystal Maldonado
Publisher: Holiday House
Release Date: February 2nd, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Coming of age as a Fat brown girl in a white Connecticut suburb is hard.
Harder when your whole life is on fire, though.

Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat.

People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter.

But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing–he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? UGHHH. Everything is now officially a MESS.

A sensitive, funny, and painful coming-of-age story with a wry voice and tons of chisme, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega tackles our relationships to our parents, our bodies, our cultures, and ourselves.

REALLY ENJOYABLE.

I flew through this book quickly. The writing led to a easy and great paced story for a coming of age teen, Charlie.

The conversations throughout hit me deep in many ways. Some I could understand and connect with and others I won’t ever be able to understand, but appreciated seeing it in a book to help me understand more. There was a lot of great dialogue here and I’m grateful that I had the chance to read this.

Within the bigger and tougher discussions was an adorable romance. I thought Brian was precious and I loved all of the dates and interactions and the chemistry between him and Charlie. Some of the dialogue is very high school, though I wasn’t too affected by it. I thought everything felt pretty authentic to a 16/17 year-old without being over the top.

What I didn’t love was how the conflict went down with Brian. It just seemed liked it could have been addressed better and not dragged out as long as it was for the sake of the drama. A conversation after cooling down would have nicely moved things along rather than trying to force a grand gesture at the end.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses / heated make-outs; discussion of sex
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: fatmisia, body shaming, diet culture, disordered eating

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